CHAASE Forum: A Discussion on Health Care Reform

CHAASE Forum Debates Health Care Reform

By Annie Dickenson, Nathaniel Kinney, Leslie Lemanczyk, Jordan Mauss, and Laurie Weinert

Is health care a right or a privilege?

That was the question debated at a panel discussion held on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus, Thursday, October 22, 2009. Over 175 people attended event to discuss the importance of the health care reform and its impact on seniors in the United States. The panel was sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire Center for Health Care Administration and Aging Services Excellence.

Panelists included Dr. Robert Burke, chair, Department of Health Administration, George Washington University; Clifton Porter, vice president of governmental affairs, HCR Manor Care; and Lisa Lamkins, advocacy director, Wisconsin American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

Health care legislation is headed to the United States Senate for a vote which will give a public option in health care to millions of American citizens. This legislation will also give individual states the choice of opting out of this agreement if that state government decides to do so.

Currently, over 500,000 Wisconsin citizens and over 40 million people nationally are without health care. The proposed legislation will facilitate significant changes in health care for people who currently have insurance coverage and also provide many American citizens who currently do not have health insurance with coverage. Many opposed to the bill argue that this would go against their personal freedoms and raise the price of private insurance coverage. Those in favor of the bill argue that there would not be a noticeable increase to the current costs.

Many relevant topics were raised during the UW-Eau Claire panel discussion. An exchange student from Denmark asked why America does not already have healthcare for everyone. She stated that she knows it is possible for a country to provide healthcare for all because her home country does. Burke answered her question by explaining that the US population is so large and so diverse that what is possible in Europe is not possible here. As support for his statement, Burke mentioned that Sweden, with a population of 8 million is the same size as New York City.

Medicare and Medicaid were also discussed by the panelists.

“The reality is that we have a real problem with Medicaid, and I don’t see it going away anytime soon,” according to Porter.

The panelists agreed that there are budgetary problems with both programs, and that no solutions have been reached, and that none are expected.

Also discussed in the forum were the effects of this debate on the aging community. Many of the elderly are worried about their medical benefits being cut with the new health care reform legislation. They are also concerned that they won’t be able to choose their own doctors or will have to wait inordinate amounts of time to see a doctor.

Changes in the health care reform will affect a multitude of people from campus, the city, state, and nation. It is up to the people of the nation to be active participants because our decisions affect the future of the country. Porter urged participants to “get involved, stay involved, be involved,” with echoing nods of agreement from both Burke and Lamkins. Students and communities need to be “active participants, be concerned about who is and is not covered,” continued Porter. It is up to the communities to get in contact with their legislators and get the uninsured covered.

Annie Dickenson Nathaniel Kinney Leslie Lemanczyk Jordan Mauss Laurie Weinert

From left to right: Annie Dickenson is a senior marketing major from, Prentice, WI; Nathaniel Kinney is a senior marketing analytics major from Stevens Point, WI; Leslie Lemanczyk is a senior management major from Menomonee Falls, WI; Jordan Mauss is a senior accounting major from Caledonia, MN; and Laurie Weinert is a senior marketing major from Manitowoc, WI. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.

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